Orlando Health partners with Seminole State to address nursing shortage

New partnership creates a nursing pipeline for Central Florida

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Photo L-R: Seminole State nursing professor Tammie Luman, nursing students Brittany Leondard, Raeanne Champion, Jazmine Alcocer, Jessica Rojas Perlaza, Abbey Smith, Sabrian Blach-Schlottman, Kayla Penkava, and nursing professor Jennifer Williams. Not pictured is Marianne Haines.

Eight top nursing students from Seminole Stage College of Florida are starting the year getting hands-on experience caring for seriously ill patients at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital.

They are the first group of general nursing students to come through the hospital as part of Orlando Health South Seminole’s Dedicated Education Unit (DEU), a new partnership with Seminole State to address a nursing shortage that has been a challenge for hospitals across the country.

“We are seeing unprecedented demand for healthcare that has created a real need for nurses with the high-level skills to care for some of our sickest patients,” said Brigit Zamora, chief nursing officer at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital. “With the pandemic, that challenge is even greater, but we’re thrilled to have a partner like Seminole State College to work with us on creative solutions to bring their top students to the workforce as seamlessly and as well-prepared as possible.”

Each semester, the DEU will welcome eight Seminole State College nursing students to complete an intensive practicum in the hospital. They will be assigned to work alongside experienced nursing preceptors, or mentors, in key areas of the hospital where the need for skilled nursing is greatest. The nursing students will begin working in Orlando Health South Seminole’s progressive care unit, a step below the intensive care unit, and will have opportunities to shadow in other departments of the hospital in order to diversify their experience. In turn, the partnership will also create opportunities for preceptors to bring their experience and knowledge into the classroom by becoming adjunct nursing professors at Seminole State. 

“Our dedicated and talented faculty are educating some of the best and brightest nursing students anywhere in Central Florida,” said Nancy Gasper, Dean of Nursing. “This unique partnership with Orlando Health, which complements our classroom and simulation training, is creating opportunities for our students to learn some of the real-world skills they need to quickly transition into their careers caring for the patients in our community who need it most.”

For the students, it’s an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real-life setting.

“This program is going to make me more confident when I graduate and make the transition easier to when I start working,” said nursing student Abbey Smith. 

“Being hands-on is a definite positive for my education and giving me valuable on the job training,” said nursing student Jessica Rojas Perlaza.

 The first group of DEU nursing students began their rotation at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital January 11, coinciding with the beginning of the spring semester at Seminole State College. Annually, the hospital expects to have 24 nursing students participate in the program, providing advanced training in skills such as, advanced cardiac life support, phlebotomy, and electrocardiogram interpretation.

Nursing students at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital
Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital hosted a reception Jan. 11 to celebrate the new partnership.

About Seminole State College of Florida and its Nursing Program

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. The College’s nursing program, part of the Ann Wiggins Moore Center for Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and by the Florida State Board of Nursing (2014-21).
For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu
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About Orlando Health

Orlando Health, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with $7.6 billion of assets under management that serves the southeastern United States. 

Founded more than 100 years ago, the healthcare system is recognized around the world for its pediatric and adult Level One Trauma program as well as the only state-accredited Level Two Adult Trauma Center in the St Petersburg region. It is the home of the nation’s largest neonatal intensive care unit under one roof, the only system in the southeast to offer open fetal surgery to repair the most severe forms of spina bifida, the site of an Olympic athlete training facility and operator of one of the largest and highest performing clinically integrated networks in the region. Orlando Health is a statutory teaching system that pioneers life-changing medical research. The 3,200-bed system includes 15 wholly-owned hospitals and emergency departments; rehabilitation services, cancer and heart institutes, imaging and laboratory services, wound care centers, physician offices for adults and pediatrics, skilled nursing facilities, an in-patient behavioral health facility, home healthcare services in partnership with LHC Group, and urgent care centers in partnership with CareSpot Urgent Care. Nearly 4,200 physicians, representing more than 80 medical specialties and subspecialties have privileges across the Orlando Health system, which employs nearly 22,000 team members. In FY20, Orlando Health served nearly 150,000 inpatients and nearly 3.1 million outpatients. During that same time period, Orlando Health provided approximately $760 million in total value to the communities it serves in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at http://www.orlandohealth.com, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @orlandohealth